Unacceptable Levels

The Power of Documentary Film

Hazardous Chemicals

We here at Word Wizards inc, love documentary film because it makes up so much of the work we do. However, we also love it because it has the power to really change people’s perspectives on important issues. It brings these important issues, that many people would know nothing about otherwise, to larger audiences and makes them tough to ignore. These filmmakers—or documentarians—shine light on topics that are often overlooked or kept under wraps because some people want them hidden from the public. I recently ran across a documentary, Unacceptable Levels, that does just that and shines a light on an important topic. The film’s main focus is examining how the thousands of chemicals that are used in the creation of everyday objects like food, furniture and cookware, are affecting our bodies and our health.

It All Began With Some Bad Water

Aspiring filmmaker Ed Brown was working as a waiter in Pennsylvania when he had a glass of water one day and noticed how it smelled and tasted like a swimming pool. He then did some online digging and saw to his surprise that there some acceptable levels of chlorine and other containments in water. He didn’t think that much about it until pregnancy issues with his wife brought his mind back to the subject. He started thinking about how that same chlorine he had read about might be affecting people like his wife and what affects so many other everyday chemicals are having on us. This in turn inspired him to start working on the documentary as a way to learn more about this issue.

 A Cinematic Journey

In the film Brown has the viewer go on the journey with him to the extant that they learn some startling facts at the same time he does on camera. Brown interviews a lengthy list of respected experts who are well versed in environmental and chemical studies. Some of these people include activist Ralph Nader and President of the Environmental Working Group, Ken Cook. Along the way a few shocking stories are unearthed, with one of the biggest having to do with sewer sludge. In the 1970s thousands of elements that were removed in sewage treatment and deemed too toxic for the ocean or landfills were simply renamed “biosolids” by the Environmental Protection Agency and given away to farmers who spread them on their farmlands all over America.

 What Viewers Get From The Film

Brown hopes that people see the film and get a sense of empowerment from it and start asking some important questions of their own. Personally, he’s gained a lifetime of knowledge from gathering all that documentary footage and feels it’s benefited his family greatly. While the vast amount of information may seem overwhelming, he hopes that other families will begin to make some life changes and be more careful about what they have around them. Unacceptable Levels will actually be playing in the DC area on June 20th at E Street Cinema. Again, movies like this are important because they make you think about major issues and make you question the world around you to hopefully become more informed.

 




Social Justice and Web Series at Filmfest DC

film fest

If your looking for a fun little excursion and have a hankering for a different kind of cinema, check out the Filmfest DC. They’re collection, which plays till Sunday the 21st, is pretty impressive with over 80 features, documentaries and shorts from all corners of the earth. Word Wizards, Inc. of course loves docs, since their so jam packed with talking heads footage which means transcription, but encourages visitors to see all the festival has to offer. The festival which takes place at various commercial theaters throughout Washington, D.C. have a program that can be downloaded from the website at http://www.filmfestdc.org/filmlist.cfm  

Social Justice

One of the unique highlights of the festival includes a Justice Matters Focus group of documentaries which uses the powerful medium of film to take a look at important social justice issues. Some of the subjects include affordable aids treatment, life in refugee camps, global change through entrepreneurship and protecting indigenous people. Word Wizards. Inc, loves these documentaries for a few reasons since they not only bring important topics to the masses that might be over looked, but also use lots of interview footage which requires transcription to great effect. For more information, check out their link here: http://www.filmfestdc.org/filmListSel.cfm?selSeries=Justice%20Matters 

Another unique panel looks at the outstanding quality of the different web series’s produced in the DC area entitled Best of the D.C. Web Series. Over the past decade a number of made for the internet shows, called webisodes, have sprung up in the area. They tend be the length of an average television show and are becoming increasingly popular since they’re cheap to make and can be distributed so easily. While they are intended for the internet, they are still make via the conventional production means. This entails shooting it with a camera which is followed  by plenty of transcription, logging and editing. For more info: http://www.filmfestdc.org/highlights.cfm  

Film festival’s like Filmfest DC are important since they give a voice to many films that otherwise would not be able to find an audience. Yes, some things like the internet and video sharing sites have made self distribution easier than before but its still tough to get them in front of people. Film festivals take only the best which means audiences have a certain quality to look forward to and that filmmakers have better chances to be recognized. To find out about all the screenings and films, check out the Filmfest DC website at  http://www.filmfestdc.org/.

 

 

 




Need a Little Help With that Documentary?

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While to many outsiders i.e. people not in the media or video production biz, making a documentary or any kind of media production may seem like fun, we video professionals know just how much hard grueling work is involved in even the most basic media. Not only are there a seemingly impossible number of steps you have to go through but obviously you want to make sure you’re doing it well. Working in a documentary rich community like the one here in the D.C. Metro area is enormously helpful because of the sheer number of professionals who strive to help each other out. Through each step of the process from conception and story boarding to filming, principle photography and finally editing, transcription and logging there is someone wanting to collaborate with you and make your work that much better. One of these people Adele Schmidt is definitely worth getting to know.

Adele Schimdt brings a decade and a half of valuable experience with her in that time has produced, edited and directed more than 6 long form award winning documentaries. Not only have these documentaries all been shown on National Public Television, they have also participated in over 50 national and international film festivals. So the fact Adele has become a well known documentary coach should surprise no one. She loves helping guide people through the process of making their film and is incredibly passionate about making sure new projects succeed.

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As a coaching consultant, Adele guides filmmakers in all stages of the documentary process. She works with them on research, helping them decide which talking heads and research to utilize. During the production and shooting process she loves to give them pointers and tips on how to create the best possible looking film. Finally during the editing phase, Adele helps filmmakers polish their work so that it absolutely shines. She is a firm believer in transcripts with time code and has referred Docs makers to Word Wizards, Inc. in the past. In addition to personal coaching, she also teaches a number of workshops and seminars during the year around the DC area.

In fact, she has an upcoming seminar on April 20th entitled “Finished My Documentary, What’s Next?” During the seminar Adele will present the first case study using her film Romantic Warriors – A Progressive Music Saga I and II. She will explain how the film has successfully self-financed itself via DVD by targeting social media campaigns and self distribution. Filmmakers will be able to learn the right techniques and methods in reaching the widest possible audience for their projects. To learn more about the seminar, check it out here: http://bit.ly/102sl76

To learn more about Adele and her consulting work, check out out some of these links: